Grown Here at Home: Ways to manage weeds at home

Weed expert at Virginia Tech answers weed questions
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 7:25 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Here’s the big question.

“Everyone wants to know how can I get rid of the weeds and do it safely,” said Shawn Askew, a professor and weed management expert at Virginia Tech.

One option is to hire a professional.

“If you’re not passionate about weed control or home lawn care, etc., don’t believe that you’re going to save money by going to a box retailer and purchasing a $15 product and squirting it on your lawn,” Shawn explained.

He says using synthetic herbicides are the best way to kill weeds.

“Because they’ve worked for many, many decades. We have alternatives, but they usually cost up to 20 times more money or they require up to 20 times more labor, if not even more,” Shawn said.

Right now Virginia Tech is exploring other options to renovate turf that don’t include synthetic herbicides. Shawn says some of the ways include shading, solarization, boiling water, and direct flame from a torch. He says they’re getting interesting results.

If you’re thinking you don’t want to hire a professional and you don’t want to use synthetic herbicides to get rid of weeds, here’s a couple of things you can do. First, invest in topsoil.

Shawn explained, “Everything builds on that foundation. And if your turf is not happy, there is no way you’re gonna win the battle with weeds.”

This means making any amendments to the soil and getting the PH right.

“If the PH is not correct then any fertilizer you have will not be able to be utilized by the turf,” Shawn said.

Secondly, Shawn says we all need to do this.

“Mow at the proper mowing height people. That’s number one for consumer lawn care.”

He says the proper mowing height is 3.5 to 4 inches.

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